The past few days have certainly been busy ones. A lot of snow sampling has been going on ... a group of us are doing a 36 hour experiment to monitor the changes in snow composition as a function of sunlight. Several of my colleagues have been sampling the snow every two hours since Friday morning. Unfortunately, because of the large volume of snow that I need for a sample (and the time it takes to process those amounts of snow), I was only able to sample three times. Once at the start, middle and end of the experiment. For our work, one sample requires gathering two 5-gallon buckets of snow. This snow then melts overnight and the pollutants are extracted from the snow and sent home for analysis at Villanova. (See our previous "movie" of sampling, posted on March 24). We are interested in how the pollutants migrate within the snowpack, so I sampled from three different layers (or depths) in the snow. Where I am sampling, the total snowpack depth is about 30-40 cm (a bit more than 12 - 16 inches). So, I have to dig up a relatively large area of the snow to fill my buckets. My colleagues just shake their heads when I'm finished, because it looks like an angry herd of buffalo had their way with the snow where I sampled.
In other news, I also gave a talk today to the local community about our work, at an event called "Schoolyard Saturday". Every Saturday someone comes in to talk about their work in the Arctic, or some other interesting topic they find appropriate, and the talk is open to the public. I had pretty good attendance given that I was competing with the local "Spring Festival" being held this weekend in town. The talk lasted about 40 minutes, but was followed by many interesting questions that lasted another 30 minutes or so. Apparently I didn't put anyone to sleep!
So our work here is wrapping up - at least for this trip. Another full week of work and then it will be time to pack up and head back home again. I must admit, it will be good to be able to sleep in my own bed again ... and with springtime in full force in Pennsylvania, I'll get to mow grass too ... oh, if only that were something I actually looked forward to! There is something to be said for living in a place where you don't have grass to mow!